Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih launched a tender process for the Kingdom’s 300 megawatts Sakaka solar project. He said more wind and solar projects are in the pipeline.
Launching the major project at the Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy Investment Forum (SAREIF) at the Four Seasons Hotel, Al-Falih told more than 800 local and foreign delegates that the National Center for Renewable Energy Data has also been established.
The Sakaka project in Al-Jouf, which is expected to come online by 2019, involves the development, design, financing, construction, testing, completion and operation of a greenfield solar PV plant.
The project is expected to have a total capacity output not exceeding at any time 300 MW capacity of electricity generation. The project forms part of the Round 1 of the National Renewable Energy Program.
Some 51 companies have expressed interests for the Sakaka project.
He also announced that final touches are being given to another wind project for 400 megawatts in Domat Al-Jandar. Under the new initiatives to obtain renewable energy from wind and solar projects, the minister said it would target 1,200 megawatts through 30 projects in the next seven years. The initiative plans to derive 10 gigawatts of power from renewable energy to the national grid.
“So the percentage of renewable energy by 2023 will be 10 percent of the total installed capacity in the Kingdom.”
Al-Falih said the National Center for Renewable Energy Data of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy would serve as the central authority to provide high-quality data on the renewable energy sector in the Kingdom to investors or investors.
The inaugural ceremony followed a panel discussion moderated by Eithne Treanor, OPEC’s official on air-conference and webcast moderator.
Abdulaiz Al-Judaimi, senior vice president of Aramco, highlighted the importance of the company’s role in diversifying the Kingdom’s energy sources.
“Saudi Aramco’s participation in the forum stems from its crucial role in diversifying the Kingdom’s energy mix through various projects and initiatives that aim at promoting the use and adoption of renewable energy to reduce emissions and to achieve a better environmental performance, while meeting the Kingdom’s future energy demand,” Al-Judaimi said
Saudi Aramco has already delivered on its renewable energy initiatives and demonstrated the integration of solar PV (photovoltaic), and solar CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) at its current facilities with several pilot projects, including one of the world’s largest solar carport systems.
In addition to the vast solar energy resources in the Kingdom, wind energy is among the best worldwide with wind capacity twice the global minimum in numerous areas in Northern and Northwest regions of the Kingdom. The recent inauguration of the first wind turbine in Turaif demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s strategy of integrating renewable energy into its operations. The wind turbine will create enough power to supply 250 homes, which has the potential to displace 19,000 barrels of oil equivalent, and generate 2.75MW of energy, thereby reducing demand for electricity from the national grid.
The introduction of renewable energy will reduce the Kingdom’s greenhouse gas emissions and will contribute to global climate efforts, as outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Committing the Kingdom to renewable energy also achieves part of the National Transformation Plan (NTP) and Vision 2030. Through NTP, the Kingdom is targeting 3.45GW of renewable energy by 2020 and 9.5GW by 2023. The 9.5GW will result in avoiding 16-18MM ton CO2/year by 2023.